Sunday, May 10, 2009
So, Star Trek, eh?
Look, I seriously don't know what's in the water that makes everybody so excited over J.J. Abrams. Seriously, everyone "Oohed and Ahed" over the trailers for this new movie and I was, hard as I tried, unable to find anything at all that seemed anything better or worse than "fine".
Yes, above and beyond my skepticism.
It's like everyone else's trailer came with an hallucinogenic implant. I thought it looked... fine. It's a little dull and mediocre.
It can't just be skepticism. I saw the trailer for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which I'm pretty close to positive will suck, and thought "Ooh, cool!", and had to stop myself from imagining up some optimism.
So, it's can't just be my skepticism. I have no explanation beyond the hallucinogenic implants.
So, did I like the movie? I liked it better than I liked the trailer, but it suffers the same kind of never being much better than "fine".
I keep not finding the energy to review it in full, but I agree with most of The Next Frontier by Marty McKee and The franchise on the edge of forever by Roger Ebert (whose recent Go gentle into that good night is remarkable and should be read by everyone).
I will add, since no one else seems to, Uhura had awesome fake eyelashes.
And nothing in Abram's direction added anything positive. The set design is nice. It's more successful than the look of Enterprise at evoking a future of today while still looking like it could be before the original "Star Trek".
But not only is the shooting unimaginative, as Marty noted, but the action sequences are very poorly staged and uninvolving.
Look, moviemakers, I'm telling you, watch Paul W.S. Anderson! His movies don't ever quite work, because he doesn't do anything else very well, but he's been a very successful director in Hollywood because the one thing he does do is stage action like a master.
So, yeah, I would have been disappointed if I'd broken my 20 year streak of seeing Star Trek movies in a theater and caught this one on DVD. It's solidly decent. If it were the pilot for a new series, I'd be watching. It would, in fact, be the best pilot for a "Star Trek" series since The Cage... Yes, that'd make it better than Where No Man Has Gone Before. So?
UPDATE: Other worthwhile thoughts: Why the Enterprise matters (and the rest is anti-matter) by Jim Emerson and Go Boldly, or Go Home: The Vanity Mirror Universe of Star Trek (2009) by Chris Stangl.
And allow me to emphasize, for my own benefit as much as anyone else's, I did enjoy the movie, frankly more than I expected to. I'm struggling hard to understand the flow of unreserved affection this movie seems to be receiving, but I'm likewise struggling not to begrudge it.
UPDATE II: Star Trek: A Contrarian Viewpoint takes a more negative approach than matches my own feelings, but makes a lot of points that really do deserve a hearing among the bland and unanimous praise that seems to have mysteriously greeted this rather ordinary little adventure.